COUNTY REPORTS 21 CORONAVIRUS DEATHS YESTERDAY, A NEW RECORD

San Bernardino County reported 21 coronavirus-related deaths Wednesday (July 8), the largest number of deaths reported on one day, and 654 new cases. There have been 293 deaths attributed to COVID-19 and 16,586 confirmed cases so far. Here in our Morongo Basin, we have 118 confirmed cases: Yucca Valley with 69; Joshua Tree with 22; Twentynine Palms, 16; and Morongo Valley with 11. In the past seven days, 35 deaths have been announced. That’s the highest one-week total since mid-May.

A projected 9,072 people have recovered, according to the county.

SHORTAGE OF TESTING SUPPLIES WILL LIMIT TESTS AVAILABLE

Testing for COVID-19 was up 2.4 percent from Tuesday, with an additional 3,944 people getting tested. In the county of 2.1 million residents 167,108 have been tested, of whom 9.9 percent were positive. However, the number of people who will be tested will decline, as Managing Editor Tami Roleff says that the county is experiencing a temporary shortage of testing supplies…

A nationwide and state shortage of testing supplies will limit the number of tests the county can provide to its residents. The County hopes to resume its expanded testing regime by next week, once it obtains adequate testing supplies. More than 70 percent of U.S. labs have suffered significant delays due to overwhelming numbers of specimens to be tested for COVID-19. Labs are being urged to prioritize testing those samples of individuals who are most at risk of spreading the virus. that The county hopes to resume its expanded testing regime by next week, once it obtains more testing supplies. In the meantime, if you have an appointment at Copper Mountain College to be tested, check your email to see if it has been cancelled or rescheduled.

Hospitalized COVID-19 positive patients rose to 501 Monday, July 6, up from 484 the day before, while patients suspected to have the disease dropped to 73 from 81, according to the state’s data.

Meanwhile, the number of positive intensive-care patients was 160 Monday, down from 164 the day before. The number of those suspected to have the disease also dropped. On Monday there were 10 patients, while there were 11 on Sunday, the state’s data shows. The time it takes for the virus to double in the community was 19.9 days.

EARLY MORNING STORAGE FIRE IN DESERT HEIGHTS

County firefighters are investigating an early morning suspicious fire in the Desert Heights neighborhood of Twentynine Palms. Joshua Tree, Yucca Mesa, and Combat Center firefighters were called to the 1000 block of Friendship Avenue at 3:15 this morning for a fire in a big rig trailer filled with books, clothing, household supplies, and other items. County Fire Battalion Chief Scott Tuttle said crews were on scene for about 2 ½ hours putting out the blaze and mopping up. The residents were not at home at the time of blaze. There were no injuries.

DONATIONS NEEDED FOR THE 29 PALMS ART GALLERY

This has been a challenging year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and it has left many non-profit venues like the 29 Palms Art Gallery with no income to pay for normal monthly expenses, let alone unexpected maintenance issues. Lori Rennie and Ed Keesling joined the Z107.7 Up-Close show last Friday and reporter Cassidy Zimarik has the call for donations to the 29 Palms Art Gallery…

“When the virus hit, we closed down and prior to that we had been trying to deal with mice problems and things like that but after we closed down, we came in one day and couldn’t set the alarm.”

Ed Keesling of the 29 Palms Art Gallery said the gallery is in need of community help as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Donations are needed now to help fund some serious maintenance issues to the historic adobe gallery, a nearly 70-year landmark in Twentynine Palms. With the absence of activity in the gallery since mid-March, Lori Rennie said desert rodents decided to move into the historic building.

“They literally have dug a tunnel system through the internal adobe walls”

A fundraising campaign, called #29strong The Little Gallery That Could, has been launched to repair chewed wires, replace a security system, hire a professional service to provide abatement, repair points of rodent entry, and sanitize areas of waste contamination.

“And as I said, those funds are all designated for work that needs to be done on the adobe structure itself.”

To learn more about this campaign and how you can help the historic gallery, visit www.29palmsartgallery.com/29strong.

JUMBO ROCKS CAMPGROUND IN JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK CLOSED FOR BEES

As of noon today, and until Friday, July 24, the Jumbo Rocks Campground and picnic areas in Joshua Tree National Park will be temporarily closed due to bee activity. Other campgrounds and services are currently not affected by this closure. Please use caution when hiking or recreating in the greater Jumbo Rocks area.